Oh, this should provide hours of amusement.
House Energy and Commerce Committee leaders today unveiled a series of documents provided by the Department of Health and Human Services from July 2013 that reveal the administration internally voicing serious concerns about the progress of the HealthCare.gov website. Among the concerns raised by senior officials was the ability to meet the October 1 launch date and the impact the compressed timeframe would have on testing of the site.
In various emails dating between July 8 and July 20 of this year, administration officials write that they “under oath stated we are going to make October 1st,” but other emails express that, “We believe that our entire build is in jeopardy.” In one document, HealthCare.gov project manager Henry Chao writes, “I just need to feel more confident they are not going to crash the plane at take-off, regardless of price.” Nevertheless, the administration pressed forward, spending hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars on a website that still does not work. On August 1, Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services Administrator Marilyn Tavenner testified to the full committee, “CMS has already completed the majority of the development of the services required to support open enrollment beginning on October 1, 2013 for coverage beginning on January 1, 2014.”
Merely skimming through said documents suggests to me that Henry Chao should perhaps be brought back before Oversight to explain whether he was as surprised about these revelations as he was about the ones on security (or, more accurately, the ones about Healthcare.gov’s lack of security). It should make for an interesting session.
Moe Lane (crosspost)
PS: To be fair, Henry Chao is not really the main target, here. On the other hand, there’s more than enough blame to go around and it does sound like there was an utter failure of management going on with the Obamacare process from Day One. And on the gripping hand? Nobody put a gun to Henry Chao’s head and ordered him to be the fall guy for this administration. Hope he enjoys the sensation.